THE Presidents policy of granting pardons to criminals of every breed is going on, on a huge scale. It flies in the face of his obligations to democracy and the rule of law. While thugs and convicts are being let off the hook, the PML-N charge that the presidency has become a den of corruption seems very much the case. The legal excuse that has become the constant refrain of every Zardari loyalist is that what he is doing is in consonance with Article 45 of the Constitution and so it is perfectly alright; but at the same time morality does also apply on his actions. What we have been seeing is that he has literally made a travesty of the Constitution. Granted, there are certain provisions in the Constitution, giving discretionary powers to the head of the state, but that does not mean that the President can abuse them. It was shocking to see how he rushed to protect Rehman Malik minutes after the LHC upheld his conviction in a corruption case. While it was a message to the judiciary that it wasnt a match against the executive, and the government would have its way come hell or high water, it also shows the Presidents tendency to condone corruption. Even more outrageous is the latest presidential pardon granted the other day to Sajjad Haider who was convicted along with Rehman Malik by the LHC. Also the two of them were responsible for the kidnapping of a US based Pakistani businessman back in 1994 when Mr Malik was the head of the FIA. Since the case has been revived after the annulment of the NRO, the petitioner is being forced to withdraw the FIR. Brutally tortured for pointing out Maliks and Haiders involvement in human trafficking, the petitioner says that he would stick to his guns and expects the courts to do justice. The courts of course are doing their job in a splendid manner, but the executive is certainly not pleased with the watchdog role being played by it and intends to seriously curtail it. It is unfortunate that the government is at loggerheads with the judiciary merely because it wants to shield certain corrupt individuals. Last month, the President set free Riaz Sheikh, sentenced by the Supreme Court, largely because he wanted to show the presidential muscle. Prime Minister Gilani, where he could have made a difference, has really not lived up to his expectations. His stubbornness in the face of the Supreme Courts decisions, leading to the PPPs seemingly strong resolve that neither the corrupt amongst its ranks would be sidelined nor arrangements would be made to reopen the Swiss cases against the Co-Chairman, reflects poorly on his leadership abilities. The President needs to give up this reckless course of backing corrupt convictees. What will become of rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution when the President himself is showing such affection for outlaws?